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09 Forester Towing Performance

SubaruSeekerSubaruSeeker Posts: 5
edited March 25 in Subaru
Have never owned a Subaru before, but am considering new MT Forester. I live in Montana. I tow a 1,950 lb camping trailer twice/month up into Yellowstone & twice/year down to SW US, driving on interstates & 2 lane black tops in the mountains. I need help trying to evaluate if the Forester will perform OK with my trailer & the 2,400 lb towing rating. Any help, expereinces, opinions would be useful. Thanks folks.
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Comments

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    All Subarus can only tow 1000 pounds if the trailer doesn't have trailer brakes. It's in the owner's manual. This is true for virtually every other vehicle, except full-size GM trucks and a few others like Land Rover and maybe some other European vehicles.

    So, yeah, the Subie can "tow" 2400 pounds, it'll just have trouble "stopping" 2400 pounds if there are no trailer brakes.

    Bob
  • Thanks for getting back to me. My trailer has brakes etc. so I am not concerned about that. My major question is about over all Forester performance pulling such a load. I know it is rated at 2,400 lbs towing capacity....but....Does it labor? Does it handle it reasonalbly? Does anyone have expereince with such towing?

    Nick
  • crv16crv16 Posts: 205
    I've got a 2009 Forester X MT. Installed the Subaru-branded hitch myself. I tow two trailers - my 5x8 open utility trailer and a 5x10 enclosed Wells Cargo trailer.

    Honestly, the Forester tows the big trailer better than the Honda Pilot we used to own. Sure, you feel it, but it tows it fine even at highway speeds.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    Hi Nick

    I've towed with my wife's '01 Forester automatic, and it did fine (5x8 utility trailer rated for 3K). As you may already know, in other markets Foresters and other Subies are rated to tow over 3000 pounds. Here's the spec sheet from Australia (note that the manual gearbox down there is a dual-range unit).

    http://www.subaru.com.au/models/forester/x/wagon/specifications/all/

    1,400 kg = 3086 lbs

    My only concern is that you're going to be using a manual gearbox, in which I'd worry about the clutch. Automatics are generally considered better for towing. The other thing, unlike in Oz, the US-spec Forester now comes with a temp spare tire; not a good thing IMO, for towing duties. Our '01 Forester came with a full-size spare. You might consider replacing that temp tire with a full-size unit.

    Bob
  • crv16
    Thanks very much for your information.

    I am begining to feel better about the Forester. How much wieght to you tow in your 5x10 enclosed trailer? And what distances do you tow it with weight?
  • rsholland

    Thank you very much for the Australian information. That was very helpful. I am more confident about the Forester as a prospective auto.

    What distances did you tow your utility trailer and how close to the 3 K was it when you towed?
  • Any other thoughts out there about the preferred trans. to have in the Forester for towing?
  • watkinstwatkinst Posts: 122
    Have the oil cooler installed this will make things much better for the long climbs or warm days etc.

    I have a 2001 legacy GT sedan - we've towed lots of stuff with it over the years. 2000lb towing capacity. We have a sailboat and all up weight behind the car tips in just a touch over 2000lbs. Car towed the boat fantastic stopped fine better then the old Fords we used back in the day. Only issue was outside temps vs the cooling capacity of the car. The 09 forrester has all the cooling issues addressed though I would highly recommend the added oilcooler for your towing needs. Cool cars are happy cars.

    150,000 miles on the old subaru and still ticking. No major issues though our crap not our boat has outgrown the subaru's sherpa capability so we have an old landcruiser that hauls the boat and all the regatta junk that goes with it now.

    Enjoy your Subaru!! I'm a first time owner and will say with no doubt our next car will be a subaru no questions about it. They aren't the fastest - the best looking but they sure take one hell of a beating and just keep going.
  • watkinstwatkinst Posts: 122
    We tow with the 2001 legacy GT sedan 5spd MT. Never an issue though some very steep hill starts with 2000lbs behind the car had me holding my breath- it just chugged on slow but made it. Clutch lasted 140,000 miles with heavy stop and go daily commute and the years of towing various boats all over California and the Westcoast.

    19mpg towing the low profile 2000lb boat - 24-25mpg towing the smaller 600lb low profile sailboat.

    The forrester would do fine though the outback would be my choice slighly larger platform slightly longer wheelbase and you get more floor space behind the back seat. Outback is just as capable as the Forrester off road except for the approach angles on the bumpers.
  • crv16crv16 Posts: 205
    The only problem I see with the Forester MT and towing are the gear ratios, especially in reverse. Clutch out speed in reverse at idle has the car going faster than I'm comfortable while backing up a trailer, thus I need to slip the clutch the whole way back.

    I've towed anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 lbs (total weight, trailer + cargo). Again, no problems towing that amount of weight.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    ...Which is why I wish they would bring back over here the dual-range 5-speed manual tranny, which has a gear reduction ratio of only 1.196:1, which (I believe) can be shifted on the fly. This would be great for those of us who tow. It's offered on Foresters, and some other Subies, sold in many other markets.

    Same with the self-leveling rear suspension; bring it back over here, as it would be great for those who tow.

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Not to put a spoiler on the "but the Forester over seas can tow more" arguement, but to be honest, there is not only a "capability or legal" issue here. Overseas the roads generally speaking are not in nearly as good of a condition as here. Travelling distances and elevation changes are different and therefore the limits are adjusted. For example in the UK you generally are not going to be towing your trailer at 70-80mph for hours at a time. Your emergency proceedures in the UK may be at 40-50mph in a less populated road. So keep this in mind when we bring up the "but overseas, XYZ vehicle has a higher towing capacity". This isn't just a Subaru thing I see the overseas arguement in just about every vehicle towing forum.

    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    #12 of 13 Re: [crv16] by rsholland Jan 26, 2009 (10:57 am)
    Replying to: crv16 (Jan 26, 2009 7:47 am)

    ...Which is why I wish they would bring back over here the dual-range 5-speed manual tranny, which has a gear reduction ratio of only 1.196:1, which (I believe) can be shifted on the fly. This would be great for those of us who tow. It's offered on Foresters, and some other Subies, sold in many other markets.

    Same with the self-leveling rear suspension; bring it back over here, as it would be great for those who tow.

    Bob


    I agree on the self-leveling. I have them on my Armada and they are great. I wouldn't hold my breathe on a 5MT anything, let alone a dual-range gear box showing up. If anything look for the MTs to be going away, as we have seen in the Turbo Forester.

    -mike
    Subaru Guru and Track Instructor
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    I don't expect the dual-range tranny showing up any time soon either; just wish it would...

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,658
    I spent 3 weeks driving in the UK a while back, covering roads from Lands End in the south up through Wales and Scotland in the north. I was on country roads with shrubbery inches from the car (no shoulders on the roads) as well as the high-speed motorways (with people splitting lanes while passing you with oncoming traffic).

    Yes, it's far more "challenging" to drive over there, than it is here, for a variety of reasons well beyond what you stated. Therefore it's even more confusing to me as to why their trailer tow limits are so much higher than they are here. If anything—because of the more difficult driving conditions—the trailer tow limits should be less than those found here, but that's not the case.

    Bob
  • crv16crv16 Posts: 205
    The Forester just needs a lower ratio reverse gear. Does one really need the ability to go 30mph in reverse?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My 1998 model towed well, even well above the 1000 lbs limit sans trailer brakes.

    If you have a trailer with brakes you may need an adaptor, but I think you'll be fine at under 2000 lbs even for good distances.

    Remember folks, the OP is only towing 1950 lbs, with trailer brakes.
  • 204meca204meca Posts: 366
    Our 03 Forester w 5 spd tows a 2,000 lb 17' fish & ski boat quite nicely. Going over 3,000' passes in the North Cascades trakes a bit more effort, but still can keep 'er 60 mph. Gas mileage drops about 30%. I do not have trailer brakes & thankfully have not had to do any panic stops -- hope that never happens, as it might not be pretty.
  • 26cars26cars Posts: 19
    I have a 2010 Forester that tows a small aluminum boat or a teardrop camper, both weigh in at about 1,000 lbs loaded. This is my first Subaru and was wondering if anyone out there has installed a transmission oil cooler to tow similar weight. I have always had a tranny cooler on previous SUV's that towed much heavier loads, but at only 1,000 lbs I question the need for a auxilary cooler. Any feedback appreciated; also if you sprung for a OEM/dealer installed or went with an aftermarket unit.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I towed 700-1500 lbs or so with my 98 Forester with all stock mechanicals. 165hp, 5 speed manual trans.

    The clutch slips a bit with the 1500 lbs load, but I never had problems.

    We now have a 2009 model but no tow hitch on this one. Trying to talk my wife in to that still. ;)
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